A Few Cue Tips
- “Little and often” is a good tip-chalking maxim.
- If the cue is held too far back, the right arm is unable to
swing freely and true strokes cannot be made.
- A player should choose a cue for himself by trial, and
when he discovers one to suit him let him buy it and always
play with the same cue.
- Avoid taking undue risks in order to leave an ideal position.
- Ensure that something easy is left on. That is the
- Usually when a line or gentle stroke would leave the
object ball in a bad position a full and free stroke will bring
it to the middle of the table.
- Make no “strokes of desperation” unless the game is
becoming really critical. A judicious miss or a stroke that
leaves the balls safe is much better.
- Have an occasional spell of practice without using side at
all, introducing two or three cushion cannons, gentle thin
losers, pots to a distant pocket, and other plain ball expedients.
- You will be surprised to find how much can be
accomplished and often better accomplished without side.
- The very best class of practice is the attempt to make a
break or sequence of simple scores. The very worst practice
is aimless play regardless of where the balls are left.
- It is not difficult to take the second cannon ball on either
side as desired from hand if the sight be first taken for the
half-ball angle and the cue ball then slightly moved.
- When making a losing hazard take care that another
hazard or a cannon shall be easily on from hand. When
making a winning hazard take care that another hazard or
a cannon shall be easily on from where the cue ball comes
to rest or from hand if it follows in.
- To acquire confidence and facility with the left hand play
an occasional hundred up by yourself in this way, taking
the whites alternately during the breaks, or handicap yourself
to play a very inferior right-handed player, using your
left hand only for striking.
- Perhaps the most useful hint that can be given in billiards
is to play no stroke carelessly. To play freely and confidently
is another thing. But the player who neglects the
rests, or the chalk, or his body positioning, or firm pose, or
dead straight sighting is courting, and deserves, failure.
- A decent player who has an easy winner left to him in a
top corner pocket with the cue ball nicely below the object
ball has a certain nine score in front of him and middle pocket
play opened up. To make the pot without leaving the
top cross loser in such a case in open play is rank bad workmanship.
The Genus Billiard Fixer
The average billiard-fixer I have found a much more
interesting individual than the average billiard-professional.
He is skilled in billiard lore, and can deliver a tale, varnished
or unvarnished, as readily as he can deliver a table
and with much the same success. Sitting on the sunny
side of lifewith nothing to do but fill up their work-tickets
the fixers of last generation had unique opportunities for
observation; and most of those worthies made good use of
every occasion that offered. Opportunity was never bald
behind to a billiard-fixer of the old school. There never
was a peg invented that old Jack Pitt, for instance, could
not hang a tale on. But men of the Pitt regime have
declined, like Othello, into the vale of years, and the tales
of the times of old are unsung by their successors. The
modern fixer has learned a tune of his own. And his own
peculiar experience is filling his mouth with wisdom of
another taste. A better taste, too. Many of the old fellows’
tales smacked too much of over-reaching the employers or
the customers. Most of the new fellows’ tales tell of
ingenuity and enterprise on behalf of the customers and the
employers. And some are interesting for other reasons.
Like this tale from Ireland:
A fixer of Burroughes & Watts had been sent to fit up
two tables in an inland Irish town for a public institute,
and meeting a reporter who had been assigned the task of
writing up a description of the new building for the county
newspaper, he “chummed” the journalist with a view to
getting his firm’s manufactures specially mentioned. It
was in the days when Burroughes & Watts first introduced
the “Patent Invisible Pocket Plates,” and our friend filled
up that newsman with information about the special qualities
of those invisible pocket plates until there was scarcely
room for the cups of kindness that also flowed freely and
generously into the journalist. But who ever heard of an
Irish pressman who would sacrifice good fellowship for the
sake of mere information!… Late at night the reporter
reached his office, and discovered he had lost his notebook.
Later still, he discovered he had lost his head. He also
discovered he had lost a good deal of his memory, but,
praise the saints, his heart was still about his person somewhere,
warm yet with tender feelings towards the cause of
his somewhat bewildering happiness; and prompted more
by his throbbing heart than by his recording memory, or his
missing notebook, he religiously wrote up his report and
handed it in. Next day an interested public might have
learned from The Blankshire Times that “two of the finest
billiard tables that ever were made had been fitted up in
the Dunnowhere Hall by that well-known firm of billiard
table makers, Burroughes & Welcome”; and that “each
table had been fitted with their latest and most wonderful
patent, namely, six invisible pockets.”
Another fixer, sent to the Highlands of Scotland to fit up
a table in a shooting lodge, found himself, after travelling
by rail, coach, and steamer, stranded in the end at a lonely
ferry many miles from his job, and with no prospects of
being conveyed to it for two days by the ordinary methods.
Local means of conveyance?there was none; people, there
was none. But scouting around he found a horse in a
field, as lonely as himself. This animal he commandeered,
leaving an explanation pinned to a gate-post, and, mounting
the charger, with his tool-bag in front, he rode gaily
towards his destination, wondering, doubtless, whether
’twas nobler in the main to risk being arrested for horse stealing
and so save the firm’s time, or waste the firm’s
time on an estimated job and so risk being discharged.
Suddenly, in sight of the house our friend was making for,
his gallant steed bolted, cleared the lodge gate at a flying
leap, tore up the avenue, with tools of all kinds dropping
by the way from a trailing kit-bag, and brought up trembling
and steaming at the door of the mansion in the midst of a
crowd of assembled gueststhe fixer, like John Gilpin,
“grasping the mane with both his hands and eke with all
his might.” “Who the devil are you? and what do you
want with my horse?” shouted the astounded owner of the
horse and house. “If you please, sir, I’m from Burroughes
& Watts, and I’ve come to fix the billiard table,” was the
humble explanation. Our amateur horse-stealer always
modestly ends his tale here, except to add that the gentleman
tipped him heavily in gold and in venison and made
him ride the horse back on the return journey to the field
where he found him. But the billiard man, who, like young
Lochinvar, had come out of the West, on the back of a
favourite hunter to fix their host’s billiard table, was a
source of considerable interest to the ladies of the house,
and many were the peeps they took into the billiard room
while the table was being built. “I’ve often wondered,”
adds the adventurer, “what the gentleman’s thoughts were
when he saw me charging up that avenue on his thoroughbred,
holding on to the mane with both hands, and scattering
my screw-drivers and chisels all over his paths.”
Jottings of the Month
- The Leicestershire Amateur Billiards Championship was
won by Mr. T. P. Harrison, against Mr. P. Matts.
- In a billiard match of 16,000 up at Melbourne, George
Gray has beaten Aiken, the Scottish champion, who is now
touring in Australia, by 311 points, the latter receiving 2,000.
- The Mount Vernon Hospital, Hampstead, has benefited to
the extent of £33 7s. 6d as the result of the amateur-professional
handicap organized at the Black Lion Hotel,
Kilburn, and which has just been brought to a successful
- W. J. Peall rendered an excellent account of himself in
his match of 22,000 up, in which Stevenson conceded him
11,000. At the end of the fortnight’s play on May 3 there
were only 80 points separating the players, Stevenson just
winning the £100 stake by that margin.
- In the final for the Northumberland and Durham Miners’
Billiards Championship, placed at Messrs. Burroughes &
Watts’s, Newcastle, on May 17, T. Winter, of Wheatley
Hill (champion of Durham) beat Jack Laws, Cambois
(champion of Northumberland) by 1,000 to 896.
- In the final game of the inter-club competition at the
Billiards Control Club, for the winners and holders (Junior
Constitutional Club) Mr. C H. Mortimer won his game
against Mr. H. Crosland by 97 points, while in the second
game Mr. Lewis Stroud won his game against Mr. G. M.
Roberts (Junior Constitutional Club) by 30 points The
final scores were:Junior Constitutional Club, 970; Royal
Automobile Club, 903.
- At Soho Square, on May 16, the final heat of the annual
Invitation Handicap, promoted by Messrs. Burroughes &
Watts, Ltd., for the West End Club markers, was played
between E. G. Clark (Junior Carlton Club) and F. Cox
(Wellington Club) the result being: Cox (rec. 60), 1,000;
Clark (owes 80), 724. The chief prize-winners of the competition
were 1st (12 gns.), F. Cox, Wellington Club, 2nd
(5 gns.), E. G. Clark, Junior Carlton Club; 3rd (£2 10s),
H. G. Norris, Argentine Club; 4th (£2 10s), J. Jevons,
Royal Automobile Club.
- Mr. C. Midgeley, Altrincham, won the Cheshire Amateur
Billiard Championship against Mr. G. Hinde, Nantwich, by
1,000 to 899. The winner made two breaks exceeding 50.
- There may be a match for considerable stakes next season
between Stevenson and Reece, and the suggestion has been
made by Reece that he should receive 1,000 in 18,000 for
£100 a side, and that the gate should be divided in the ratio
of 5 to Stevenson and 4 to Reece.
- The Acton magistrates, on May 7, sentenced Jean Weidenbaught,
19, a waiter, with no fixed abode, to six months’
imprisonment for stealing a quantity of jewellery, value
£450, the property of Melbourne Inman, of Grange Road,
Gunnersbury, the present billiard champion.
- The intended match for the championship of North
London, which was to be decided on tournament lines
amongst A. Brown, W. H. Sparrow, and E. Hoskin, has
been postponed until next season on account of the difficulty
experienced in finding a suitable place for the contest.
- A novel amateur match was played at the “William the
Fourth,” Islington, between Mr E. C. Margetts (Canonbury)
and Mr. B. Leonard (Barnsbury). The conditions
were that the former should receive 100 start, but play every
stroke with the cue held behind his back. He ran out an
easy winner by 93, his best breaks being 24, 25, 28, 30, and
38. Mr. Leonard’s best efforts were 21, 22, 22, 27, and 32.
- At the Central Conservative Club, Hull, the final game
for the “The King” Cup was decided between Mr. E. T.
Bartlett and Mr. H. M. Goldstein. The former conceded
40 start in a game of 150, and won by 13. The prizewinners
are E. T. Bartlett, cup and first prize; H. M. Goldstein,
second; R. Ferguson, H. C. Goldstein, G. Taylor, E.
Barker, W. R. Reynolds, and T. Wilson.
- The extraordinary fluctuations in billiard form (or luck)
are shown by Newman’s performances early in the month
against Hoskin, who, receiving 150 in 800 in two games,
won by 800 to 381 and by 800 to 617, as compared with his
production at Leicester Square on the evening of May 19
of a 141 average against Inman, who only succeeded in
scoring a total of 63 in a 55 minutes’ session, during which
Newman put together his necessary 563, including an
unfinished break of 343. Newman is still only in the
beginning of his twentieth year.
- When all the games had been decided in the Nottingham
Institutes Billiard League, three teams, Mapperley, Sneinton,
and Arkwright Street Wesleyans, tied for top place.
- As nothing counts but points, the three played off what are
described as “deciding” matches for the scroll and medals,
Arkwright Street losing to Mapperley, but beating Sneinton.
In the other “decider,” however, which was played at St.
Andrew’s, between Sneinton and Mapperley, the unexpected
happened, for Sneinton won, thus each of the three claims a
point, and the situation is precisely as it was at first, necessitating
the playing of the “deciders” all over again.
- The professional billiard season opened in Australia with
a match of 16,000 level at Melbourne between F. Lindrum
and A. E. Williams.
- Stevenson is prepared to concede 2,000 start in 20,000 up
to any player, Inman preferred, for £250 (open to £500) a
side with ivory balls, taking 60 per cent. of the gate receipts,
or to play level, the winner taking everything.
- In the last match of the season between Inman and
Reece some very big breaks were made by both players.
Inman made a 698 and a 653, and Reece was responsible
for an exceptionally fine break of 708.
- Playing W. Cook at Soho Square on May 21st, A. E.
Williamson, the referee and professional at Soho Square,
made a fine break of 198 which stands as his record on a
standard table. On an ordinary table, Williamson has
made as many as 403.
- Nearly every book of billiards that describes the correct
positioning of the bridge hand on the table the “root” of
the thumb is called the “ball.” Rather a funny bridge
would be made with the “ball” of the thumb resting on
- The latest proposals in connection with a match between
Inman and Stevenson, emanate from the former’s backer,
Mr. Robert Topping, who announces that he is prepared to
match Inman to play Stevenson level with ivory balls for
£1,000 a side and the whole of the gate receipts, the loser in
addition to pay the expenses of the match for which purpose
each side shall deposit an extra £200.
- The Rev. Father Jones, of Runcorn, who has been
re elected president of the Runcorn Billiard League, says
the reason why he accepted the presidency of the league was
that he recognised it would be a means of bringing together
the various political and religious bodies in the town.
- Whether Conservatives, Liberals, Church of England, Wesleyans,
Catholic, or other denominations, they met socially
at the green table, and it had been the means of producing
a very good effect upon the people in the town.
- The second match of 18,000 points between Inman and
Reece, played at Leicester Square, resulted in Reece being
defeated by no fewer than 5,940 points. This was the
seventh important match between the two players within
twelve months, four having been won by Reece and three by
Inman. Reece’s successes were at Sydney, Leicester Square,
Glasgow, and in the Tournament at Soho Square, and
Inman’s in the Championship at Holborn Hall, at Liverpool,
and at Leicester Square. The match at Liverpool
ended on May 3 with the scores: Inman, 18,000; Reece,
- An interesting idea for the curtailment of long sequences
of losing hazards has been devised by J. Mannock, who
gave a demonstration of his plan at the Hotel Victoria, on
May 5. Instead of the “D” area being used when the cue
ball is in hand, the player is restricted, except in the cases
of cannons and winning hazards, to a space within the “D”
marked out with the pyramid triangle. Test games were
played between Harverson and Mannock, and between Harverson
and Mr. S. H. Fry. The difficulty of scoring freely
from hand in this way was clearly demonstrated, but the
general opinion of the spectators, as gathered at the conclusion
of the demonstrations, was that the game of billiards
would not be improved in its general aspects by the adoption
of this method.
- The 14-year old brother of F. Lindrum (Walter Lindrum)
made a break of 203 on a standard table by all-round
methods at the commencement of the present season.
- A daily paper says that Reece, in the course of his 708
break at Leicester Square was “faced with an intricate
brasse cannon.” This is more than billiards and less than
golf. Perhaps masse was intended.
- Beginning on October 20th and concluding on November
3rd, H. W. Stevenson and T. Reece will play 18,000 up for
£100 a side at Leicester Square, Stevenson conceding 1,000
points. This match has been settled since the paragraph
on Page 8 was printed.
- Newman has put up some excellent play and many good
breaks, including one of 446 in his match against Inman
at Leicester Square, in which he was conceded 4,500 in
18,000. Inman also made centuries galore.
- Miss Ruby Roberts, the champion lady billiardist, has
been beaten in a match at Sydney, New South Wales, in
which A. E. Williams allowed 5,000 in 8,000 and won by
8,000 to 7,839. Williams made breaks of 283, 242 and 182,
and Miss Roberts’ best were 37, 36, and 35.
- The use of Mr. Vaile’s cleverly devised billiard cue, or
“snooker jumper,” described last month, which assists a
player who is “snookered,” will, it is thought, undoubtedly
find favour with billiard players. The question of its use
in professional matches is at present under consideration by
the Billiards Control Committee; but it is likely to be popular
among amateurs, for it helps one to play with more
certainty, while the same amount of judgment is required
as when the ordinary cue is used.
- A new billiard table, purchased by the Rev. S. C.
Allderidge, vicar of Newport, Yorkshire, for the Reading
Room, was opened with a billiard match of 50 up between
Colonel Harrison-Broadley, M.P., C.C., and Mr. A. R.
Empson, C.C. Mr. Empson won a close game by 2. The
table, which formerly belonged to Mr. Whittaker, the donor
of the Reading Room is a remarkably fine addition to the
appointments of the Newport Reading Room, which now
possesses three billiard tables.
- An interesting match was played at Soho Square during
the week ending May 24 between W. Cook and A. E.
Williamson. The match was one of 7,000 points on level
terms, and was won by Cook, by 805. The contestants
are both on the teaching staff of Messrs. Burroughes &
Things that Matter in Billiards,
THE QUESTION OF RESTRICTED BILLIARDS
Of the many suggestions that have been made for the
restriction of specific strokes at billiards that brought forward
and publicly demonstrated during the past month by
J. P. Mannock, an experienced and popular billiardist tutor
and proprietor, is not the least interesting. It consists in the
substitution, so far as the losing hazard phase of the game
is concerned, of a triangular space, with bases of 11½ inches,
for the familiar D area, and the idea is to have an apex
of this triangle at the central spot of the baulk line, thus
leaving an increasing margin for the placing of the cue ball
in hand when it is retired laterally. Two test games, with
the table thus marked, were played in the middle of the
month at the Hotel Victoria, and it was at once seen by the
critical and technically-expert company present that the losing
hazard game was rendered immensely more difficult by
the restriction that had been imposed. Another thing was
also noted, and that was that the players practically ignored
the triangle and confined themselves largely to cannons and
winning hazards, and mainly to those forming the winner-cannon
movement at the top of the table.
Here is seen at once a prime weakness in the proposed
restriction, another and even worse aspect of which is the
altogether heterodox class of game that an adoption of the
triangle system would bring about. Top of the table play,
created to defeat spot stroke restriction, would be practised
and performed even more than at present and might eventually
be carried to such a pitch of perfection that, with the
D area regarded as a thing to be dreaded, a new game of
billiards might eventually come to be established that only
required a top-end table measuring six feet by three feet for
A still more deplorable result would be the upsetting of
all orthodox) and system in the game as we at present know
it. Not for nothing was the D devised in its present form
and size. It is the grand base of safe retreat and. renewed
attack and it is scientifically perfect for all exigencies of the
game. Unless a losing hazard at any part of the table,
either from play or from hand, has been badly played, there
5s a certain stroke to follow from the D, which, as in the
case of artillery placed on a hill, commands and sweeps the
field. From either of the three spots the firing takes place
and for more accurate adjustments the intervening spaces
can be used at will Then there is the area behind, by the
judicious utilization of which any necessary increased rotation
of the cue ball can be ensured. But the grand utility
of the D space is its latitude, which could not, in our
opinion, be either restricted or enlarged by so much as an
inch without seriously impairing the science and versatility
of the game.
Perhaps all of our readers have not given much thought
to the strictly mathematical principles on which the playing
surface of the billiard table is marked out. To begin with,
the D occupies longitudinally exactly one-third of the baulk
line, and lines produced from the end spots to the top of the
table divide the whole of the playing surface outside baulk
into three equal compartments, the central of which, almost
up to the billiard spot, is a useful half-ball losing hazard
area By the triangle method it is proposed to make this
central area difficult instead of easy, and if this applied only
to the immediate stroke there might be something to say
for the innovation. But what would be most seriously
assailed and injured would be the present beautiful and
subtle ramification of positional play from the D, which follows
fixed mathematical laws and affords an unerring
example of cause and effect. There would, to be sure, still
be cause and effect in operation from the triangular space,
but they would be different causes and different effects,
involving long distance run-throughs or fine shots and other
more or less speculative strokes which few professional
players would feel inclined to resort to in the present game
unless very seriously pressed indeed. At nearer range, too,
the various after-happenings that are now diagnosed at a
glance would be unproducible, and the whole spirit and
genius of what has come to be recognised as “the game”
would be injured beyond repair.
No, this triangle method will not do, nor will anything
do in English billiards that seeks in any way to modify the
present standard and classical playing proportions and conditions.
For “cramp” games, in lieu of conceding points
as between player and player, let such a device be employed
if desired, or let the equally disconcerting, and still simpler,
use of the three baulk spots alone when attempting losing
hazards from hand be adopted. When a good player
chooses deliberately to penalize himself there is any one of
a dozen things that he can elect to do instead of giving the
start in points. He can play left-handed; score no break
lower than double figures or 20; ignore any given pocket
or pockets; limit any given sequence; or in one way or
another restrict his chances and multiply those of his opponent
as much as he chooses. But this is a radically different
thing from organically changing the playing conditions
of a time-honoured pastime and imposing those conditions,
willy-nilly, upon all the hundreds of thousands of cueists of
all shades of efficiency.
Billiards In Micronesia
Just below the Equator, where it cuts the Western Pacific
Ocean, is a group of islands known collectively as
Micronesia; tiny atolls built of coral, fringed with cocoanut
palms; delectable lands where it-is always afternoon.
The natives of these islands are a branch of the Polynesian
race, poor Indians whose untutored minds know
nothing of the glories of the higher life and civilization and
all that sort of thing.
But now all that is done with. Civilization, whose other
name is commerce, has taken in hand the primitive child
of nature with the result that the gentle savage now swaggers
abroad in a top hat and spats.
From the romantic balance-sheet of the Pacific Phosphate
Co. just issued, The Times gleans the glorious news
that the islands possess electric power for driving machinery
and supplying light and ice.
There is on the islands a good telephone service, there
are recreation rooms, libraries, and a billiard room. “In
fact, in a small way. all the bustling activities of civilization.”
The happy islander strolls along to the club, to play
snooker with a friend and drink highly civilized drinks; or
to the library to improve his mind with Polynesian edition
of Samuel Smiles.
It is a beautiful picture, and still more beautiful when
one remembers that it is all due to civilization and mineralized
An Irish paper some time ago talked about a “massey”
stroke. Now we have The Daily Express with “brasse”
in one of its billiard (not golf) reports.
There are only two certainties in billiards. One is that
when the spot is clear the red goes on to it after being
potted, and the other is that the cue ball, after finding a
pocket, is next playable from baulk. Sometimes both of
these things happen at the same time.
There is a misunderstanding at Dolgelly in connection
with the Carnegie Free Library there. The building contains
a room very suitable for billiards, but it seems that
Mr. Carnegie specified that no games were to be played in
End of the Professional Season
Inman Beats Newman by 65
The stubborn fortnight’s fight for £100 between Inman
and Newman (rec. 4,500) at Leicester Square terminated
on May 31, and with this match the professional season of
1912-13 may be said to have come to an end. Result:
Inman, 18,000; Newman, 17,935.
There was extraordinarily good play during the fortnight,
both by Inman and Newman, and on May 28 the champion
put up no fewer than four breaks exceeding 300, and averaged
over 150 at the afternoon session.
Professional Results of the Month
- Stevenson, 22,000, v. W. J. Peall (rec. 11,000), 21,920.
- Inman, 18,000, v. Reece, 13,864.
- Inman, 18,000, v. Reece, 12,060.
- Cook, 7,000, v, Williamson, 6,195.
- Inman, 18,000, v. Newman (rec. 4,500), 17,935.